A Few Glimpses – Triratna NYC’s Fire Island Retreat 2016
Each morning, we rose early to watch the sky and sea slowly brighten, offer a shifting array of colors from the deepest greys and blue to pinks, yellows, and oranges. Then the sun seeming to pop up over the horizon in seconds, and the day had begun.
Our days were dedicated to meditation and study, with Kamalashila instructing us in the elements practice, including a unique visualization meditation. We made strong connections between each of the elements and our surroundings
Of course, there was also plenty of mindfulness and metta.
Throughout, the sound of the surf was ever-present, crashing, subsiding, always changing.
Our program left us plenty of time to enjoy the island, with walks on the beach, and simply lying in the sun. Several of us swam in the cold, pounding surf, keeping an eye to make sure that everyone who went into the water came out.
By the light of a very full moon, we held an elements puja, and finished it on the beach, dancing, singing, and generally cavorting as the pale but bright light reflected off the surf.
Neal organized an impromptu ceremony on impermanence, reading from the tiny book in which he had been writing a line from the Heart Sutra, “Gone, gone, gone beyond gone” over and over. Then moving us to the fireplace, where we watched it burn. Neal also put his firemaking skills to use throughout the retreat.
Vajramati demonstrated his skills as a chef as well as our Sangha leader, keeping us well-fed throughout. Fay regaled us with tales of her family’s history with the old house, and her childhood summers spent playing on the beach. Russ shared a poem inspired by our days of study and practice on the elements. Even the trip itself was an important part of the journey. On the ferry ride out, the sun set behind us as the moon rose ahead. Beautiful.